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Publications & Documents


  • 30-May-2020

    English

    Realising the Potential of Primary Health Care

    The rapid spread of COVID-19 added urgency to the need to address long-standing pressures on health systems, linked to growing citizens’ expectations, population ageing and more complex and costly health care needs. As the first point of contact, primary health care that provides comprehensive, continuous, and co-ordinated care is key to boosting preventive care, treating those who need care, and helping people become more active in managing their own health. It has the potential to improve health system efficiency and health outcomes for people across socio-economic levels, and make health systems people-centred. This report examines primary health care across OECD countries before the COVID-19 pandemic, and draws attention to how primary health care is not living up to its full potential. Doing things differently – through new models of organising services, better co-ordination among providers, better use of digital technology, and better use of resources and incentives – helps to improve care, reduce the need for hospitalisations, and mitigate health inequalities. This report identifies key policy challenges that OECD countries need to address to realise the full potential of primary health care, and reviews progress and innovations towards transforming primary health care.
  • 29-May-2020

    English

    Social protection for older people with long-term care needs

    The OECD has designed a framework for comparing social protection for LTC across countries, and is developing models that can estimate the financial costs that people face, and the protection they receive, in different scenarios of LTC needs, and for any level of income and wealth.

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  • 28-May-2020

    English

    Waiting Times for Health Services - Next in Line

    Long waiting times for health services is an important policy issue in most OECD countries. Reducing the time that people have to wait to get a consultation with a general practitioner, or a diagnostic test or treatment, can go a long way in improving patient experience and avoiding possible deterioration in their health. Governments in many countries have taken various measures to reduce waiting times, often supported by additional funding, with mixed success. This report looks at how waiting times for elective treatment, which is usually the longest wait, have stalled over the past decade in many countries, and have started to rise again in some others. It also analyses the differences in how long people have to wait to get a consultation with general practitioners or specialists across countries. The report reviews a range of policies that countries have used to tackle waiting times for different services, including elective surgery and primary care consultations, but also cancer care and mental health services, with a focus on identifying the most successful ones.
  • 20-May-2020

    English

    Health Purchasing Power Parities

    Variations in per capita health spending can be the result of differences in prices for health care goods and services, and in the quantity of care that individuals are using (“volume”). Eurostat and the OECD have calculated purchasing power parities and price level indexes for GDP and some 50 product groups, including health and hospitals, on a regular and timely basis.

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  • 20-May-2020

    English

    Reassessing private practice in public hospitals in Ireland - An overview of OECD experiences

    In 2017, the 'Sláintecare Report' proposed a comprehensive overhaul of the Irish health system including a reform proposal to phase out private practice in public hospitals to end the unequal treatment of public and private patients – private patients typically have quicker access to care – and reduce waiting times for public patients. This paper summarises the arguments for and against this practice that were put forward to help inform the subsequent policy debate. The paper compares how private practice is regulated and organised in Ireland with the situation in four other OECD countries – Australia, France, Israel and the United Kingdom - and discusses the costs and benefits of private practice in public hospitals, and highlights potential consequences of a ban on this practice. It also describes the information required when making a decision whether to ban this practice or not. Finally, the paper discusses some alternative policy approaches that could replace or complement a ban of private practice to discontinue the unequal treatment of public and private patients.
  • 19-May-2020

    English

    Is Cardiovascular Disease Slowing Improvements in Life Expectancy? - OECD and The King's Fund Workshop Proceedings

    Evidence that cardiovascular disease is contributing to the slowdown in improvements in life expectancy in some OECD countries prompted OECD and The King’s Fund to convene an international workshop to examine this issue. Invitees included members of OECD’s Health Care Quality and Outcomes Working Party and five international experts. This publication describes the workshop proceedings and conclusions about the evidence on trends in cardiovascular disease mortality, their drivers and the policy implications. The report includes contributions by the plenary speakers, Susanne Løgstrup (European Heart Network), Jessica Ho (University of Southern California), Catherine Johnson (Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation), Anton Kunst (Amsterdam AMC) and Martin O’Flaherty (University of Liverpool). It shows cardiovascular disease is an important contributor to slowing life expectancy improvements in some countries, and flags some measurement problems such as international differences and changes in diagnostic practices and cause of death coding, and the complex linkages between cardiovascular disease and other causes of death. The report calls for improvements in national and international data and monitoring to support more timely and effective policy responses for preventing, managing and treating cardiovascular disease, and for tackling socio-economic and gender inequalities.
  • 28-April-2020

    English

    The effectiveness of social protection for long-term care in old age - Is social protection reducing the risk of poverty associated with care needs?

    As people grow old and their health deteriorates, they are likely to require help with everyday activities that were once second nature; they need what is commonly termed long-term care (LTC). With demand for LTC in old age expected to grow, OECD countries face significant challenges in balancing financial sustainability with the provision of effective social protection against the financial risks associated with developing LTC needs – the cost of care can far exceed median incomes and its duration can be many years. This report provides a novel set of comprehensive and internationally comparable estimates of the adequacy, equity and efficiency of public social protection systems for LTC in old age in OECD countries and EU Member States. Using a set of 'typical cases' of LTC need to ensure comparability, including different levels of severity and different ways in which needs can be met, this report shows cross-country and regional variations in the total costs of LTC services, the degree of public coverage, the out-of-pocket costs that care recipients face, and the associated poverty risks. The quantitative results are discussed in the context of how different countries design LTC benefits and schemes, including cost-sharing mechanisms. Finally, to illustrate the policy relevance of the analyses, the distributive effects of actual and hypothetical policy scenarios are simulated, including an international free personal care policy, and possible reforms in Ireland and England.
  • 22-April-2020

    English

    Covid-19 crisis underscores need to address trade in fake pharmaceuticals, say OECD & EUIPO

    Recent seizures of fake medical supplies being marketed as protection against Covid-19 underscore the need to address a growing international trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals that is costing billions of euros a year and putting lives at risk, according to the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office.

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  • 21-April-2020

    English

    Women Leaders Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 & the Future issues call to put women and girls at the centre of response efforts

    On 20 April 2020, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, and Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, convened and chaired the Women Leaders Virtual Roundtable on COVID-19 and the Future to address the disproportionately negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on women and girls and to identify and prioritize policy measures that facilitates a more gender-inclusive recovery path.

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  • 1-April-2020

    English

    Challenges to Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance - Economic and Policy Responses

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a biological mechanism whereby a microorganism evolves over time to develop the ability to become resistant to antimicrobial therapies such as antibiotics. The drivers of and potential solutions to AMR are complex, often spanning multiple sectors. The internationally recognized response to AMR advocates for a ‘One Health’ approach, which requires policies to be developed and implemented across human, animal, and environmental health. To date, misaligned economic incentives have slowed the development of novel antimicrobials and limited efforts to reduce antimicrobial usage. However, the research which underpins the variety of policy options to tackle AMR is rapidly evolving across multiple disciplines such as human medicine, veterinary medicine, agricultural sciences, epidemiology, economics, sociology and psychology. By bringing together in one place the latest evidence and analysing the different facets of the complex problem of tackling AMR, this book offers an accessible summary for policy-makers, academics and students on the big questions around AMR policy.
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